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Original 1969 Greatest Hits album but messed about with
on 24 November 2014
The original and first Greatest Hits compilation was released in January 1969 and although this CD edition shares the same picture cover it does not have the original album release content. However it may not matter to most people,
This is a good compilation and the sound is brilliant but I wouldn’t say it was the best compilation of Donovan hits available on CD. The best of Donovan sunshine superman, (re mastered with yellow cover and 22 tracks is better)
I find this issue a bit frustrating because on one hand we have a great selection of music tracks from the wonderful Donovan. And on that level it’s a nice little compilation. But it also tries to pretend to be the original Greatest Hits album from 1969. (I say pretend because it has tracks in the wrong order, has added tracks and two tracks replaced with alternative versions but still uses the same picture sleeve)
But the original 1969 issue was significant in its release at the time and stands out as not just a greatest hits album but almost a new album in its own right, And this CD edition that borrows the originals picture cover and art work is good but they have changed the integrity of the original by changing two tracks for alternative versions. (some might say that it was a good idea to do this but I am not impressed)
It may seem like I am being picky here, especially if you are not old enough or never had a copy of the original vinyl release. But I did have the original vinyl release and this issue just doesn’t match up,
The original album Greatest Hits was a big seller and had significant tracks on it. For a start it collected three singles that were previously unreleased on any album. Epistle to Dippy, There is a Mountain and Lalena. Ok, those tracks are included here so that is fine. The album also included the previously un released longer version of Sunshine Superman. Also on here so again that is fine. Then two of the songs Catch the Wind and Colours were actually re recorded with Big Jim Sullivan playing guitar and this time produced by Donovan’s producer Mickie Most. These two songs had of course been two of the most significant hits for Donovan in the early days and the record company that Donovan was now signed to, Epic, could not get the rights to obtain or release the original recordings. So rather than leave out two of the biggest hit songs they just re recorded them in 1968. But to save legal complications and to take the chance to do things differently Donovan came up with new arrangements for these new re recordings. (they were studio re recordings and not live recordings as some reviewers have suggested,) It was an attempt to arrange them so they sounded more like the more recent and new recordings. Now these versions were slower with full backing band and lavish productions. They do sound different and do lack the vitality of the original recordings and on this CD issue they have re instated the original recordings from 1965 which for some people will be preferable since they are the more familiar versions that were actually hits and it is understandable why this has been done, But it is also a shame that those alternative versions of those two songs have been lost.
This edition has changed the running order of the tracks from the original release and added four other tracks that were hits after the original album was released. The running order of the tracks is different from the original 1969 edition and has two tracks left out in favour of the alternative versions,
To complicate things further there have been five different versions of this Greatest Hits album. The original on vinyl in 1969. A CD version from 1989 called Greatest Hits and more (which again had the original re recorded two tracks and added tracks with diferent running order) A new CD version from 1990 in the U.S. this has appeared on import in the UK and some have this edition with the two re recorded original Greatest Hits album versions of two songs and the original picture sleeve, Then A new CD version from 1999 and then again in 2002 both with original picture sleeve and the two re recordings replaced with the original recordings. Amazon have put reviews for all editions on this product since it is available from Amazon and other sellers. The edition sold by Amazon (not by other sellers or Used) is the version with the two re recordings replaced by the original recordings.
If you want a good compilation of Donovan hits with plenty on one disc go for the best of donovan sunshine superman compilation with the yellow cover. If you want just a few hits by Donovan for a cheap price with original hits then this is fine, But if like me you would also like the alternative re recordings from 1968 original greatest hits album then go for Greatest hits and more CD from 1989 with a picture of Donovan outside a castle.
To sum up I would say this was a good compilation that has been messed about with.